This Thanksgiving has our hearts overflowing with gratefulness! Our sons our home!
These past four years we have been overwhelmed by the support of our family and friends as we waited for the arrival of Thomas and Samsel. The road that brought us together was long, arduous and like nothing we ever expected. And through it all you held us up. We are grateful.
Tomorrow, Thanksgiving will mark two weeks home and after seeing many of your beautiful faces at the airport we haven't seen many people. We are sticking close to home as much as possible and learning how to be a family of five.
Bringing adopted children into your family is glorious but there are some differences than welcoming home your baby from the hospital or ever a baby adopted at birth domestically. These children swiftly learn who their primary caregivers are and attach to them quickly. Children who come home through international adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. The loss of a child's first family can be a major trauma on their little hearts. The good news is that we can now, as Thomas and Samsel's forever family, rebuild attachment and help them heal from these emotional wounds. Right now, everything is new to our boys; including the dynamics of a family. God's design is for a child to be raised with a mother and father and not in an orphanage. Thomas and Samsel need to learn how to be part of a family and form healthy attachments with us. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, comfort and feed them. As we continue to meet these needs, they will be able to learn that parents are safe to trust and love deeply. Essentially, we are recreating the newborn/parent connection. Once Thomas and Samsel start to establish this most important bond, they will then be able to branch out and create other, healthy relationships.
We will have what seems like a lot of rules and boundaries when it comes to the boys. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and thoughtfully made choices based on immense amounts of research and instruction from trued adoption mentors. We will do what we believe is best to help heal their hearts and create healthy attachments. We're sharing this with you, our friends and family so you can help us help our sons. Here are a few ways you can help:
The first is to follow a few physical boundaries. It will help us immensely if adults limit what is considered normal physical contact with Thomas and Samsel. This will (for a while) include things like holding, excessive hugging and kissing. Children from an orphange setting are prone to attach easily to anyone and everyone - which hinders the important primary relationship with parents. Waving, blowing kisses and high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! If you really need to give someone a hug, give Gabe an extra one! His world has changed a lot too!
The second are is redirecting Thomas and Samsel's desire to have their physical and emotional needs met by anyone to having us meet them. Orphans often have many caretakers and as a survival mechanism become overly charming towards all adults. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. This may appear harmless and just that they are "very friendly" boys but this is actually quite dangerous for the child. Asking this of you is difficult for us because we have snuggled, cared for, fed and loved so many of your children. Please understand that we want nothing more than to have Thomas and Samsel know you and be hugged, cuddled and cherished by you. But until they have a firm understanding of family, we would be grateful to you if you directed them to us if you see they need food, affection or comfort.
We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us and so many people that love our sons. We are so thankful for each and everyone of you. Thank you so much for your love and support over the past four years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! XOXO